The Booking Office has really stood its terra firma when faced with the slew of new openings across St Pancras and Granary Square. And it’s also helped that they’re constantly rethinking the space: over the summer a pop-up gin bar in an airstream caravan lurked on the piazza, allowing punters a different view of the fabulous hotel and its sweeping curves set back satisfyingly from the Euston Road.
The restaurant itself actually opened six-and-a-half years ago as part of the revamped St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, the landmark Gilbert Scott-designed building dating back to 1865, later saved by John Betjeman from demolition in the 1960s.
As its name suggests, it was once part of the station’s ticket office – easily attested to as you enter its grand, cathedral-like interior, with vaulted ceiling. It’s strange to remember back to the days when it was just an odd, underused facility from which you might occasionally buy a cheap day return to the Midlands. Now it’s a sophisticated late night multi-purpose venue, all red brick walls and arches, panelling and iron buttresses.
The sheer space is reflected in the soaring roof and lengthy bar (which clocks in at thirty metres); and it now combines pricey cocktails with a dining experience that’s a little more relaxed than the hotel’s flagship Marcus Wareing restaurant, The Gilbert Scott, just the other side of the atrium.
We sat in a cutely intimate corner with windows out onto Eurostar beyond. And the food, from head chef Adam Ashe, who joined about a year ago, is effortless. Really.
The scene is set by a starter of meltingly butter-like scallops, with pork belly, beetroot and the crisp, welcome bite of granny smith apple, while a gently fishy lobster and crab tortellini is nudged into heat with chilli oil and tarragon. A blackened bavette, served blood-red inside, is also spot-on. Particularly good? That really garlicky aioli.
But the undisputed star of the show? Slow roast pork, served in rosy tender medallions, on rainbow chard with charred baby artichoke and a sweet-sharp damson sauce. Dazzling: and a heady match for the highly gluggable house rioja.
As the lovely Romanian waitress confides as we leave: “It was my wedding anniversary the other night and it was so good we polished off two bottles.” You might just find yourselves doing the same.
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